Action for healthy homes

Minimising the impact of bad housing is still a significant challenge for local authorities. Poor conditions can affect people’s mental health and wellbeing. They can also lead directly to illness and injury.

Last week I blogged about the impact rogue landlords are having on the health of renters. Nearly one million renters have had their health affected by their landlord failing to make repairs or deal with poor conditions such as mould, damp, or electrical hazards. Shelter has called … Read more

Tales from the front line: getting tough on rogue landlords

This won’t be the first time you’ve heard Shelter talking about rogue landlords. We’ve been calling on local authorities to take tough, visible enforcement action against these landlords for some time now. The good news is that more than 50 local authorities have already signed a statement of support, committing to do just that.

The bad news is that our new research, released today, shows that this unscrupulous minority are having a significant impact on the health of … Read more

Stable renting = strong communities and stable incomes?

It’s now six months since Shelter set out its proposals for a more family-friendly private rented sector with the Stable Rental Contract. Our perspective was very much about improving the stability and predictability of renting for England’s 1.3 million private renting families who’ll be living under the shadow of short tenancies for many years to come.

But recent developments show quite clearly that stable renting has wider benefits.

The major housing association Genesis just announced an expansion of its private Read more

We need new homes. And some of them need to be in your back yard

We’ve been arguing for a while (since about 1966, in fact) that as a country we need to build more good quality affordable homes. Sadly, though, the last fifty years have in fact seen an almost continuous decline in the number of new homes being built.

But there are signs that there is an increasing appetite for this to change. At last year’s party conferences, David Cameron urged people to accept that ‘we need more homes in Britain’, … Read more

Let councils build – and borrow

Many voices – including Shelter’s – have been plugging the economic benefits of getting housebuilding, but two things are new about the current burst of pre-budget clamour.

Firstly, the breadth, and seniority, of the voices demanding investment has reached a new level. When the CBI, the Chambers of Commerce, a former Thatcher Government Cabinet member and even the Secretary of State for Business are all saying the same thing, all it needs now to complete the set is … Read more

Clegg's on the right track, but what will make garden cities work?

Nick Clegg’s speech to the National House-Builders Council (NHBC) today sends the strongest signal yet that Government are beginning to take the challenge of our housing crisis seriously.

September’s growth ‘package’ was a step forward, but the proposed numbers of new homes were not sufficient. Today, Mr Clegg acknowledges the scale of home building needed, talking in hundreds – rather than tens – of thousands.

The notion of garden cities seems to be playing well. I can see why – … Read more

A return to revolving-door homelessness?

Today marks a watershed in the entitlements of homeless people in England.

Measures in the Localism Act 2011 which come into force today mean that councils will no longer be legally required to offer homeless families and vulnerable people a secure home managed by a council or housing association landlord.

Instead, councils will be able to discharge their duties to homeless people with the offer of a suitable twelve-month tenancy with a private landlord, and homeless families will now end … Read more

Better homes for those living in them, and those looking at them

Today, RIBA’s Future Homes Commission calls for a revolution in the scale, quality and funding of home-building to fix our broken housing market.

The report’s central recommendation is for a three-fold increase in the number of new homes built every year to over 300,000, kick-started by a £10bn Local Housing Development Fund, which would be financed and owned in turn by local authority pension funds.

Just as importantly, they want the homes built in well-designed sustainable communities of mixed-tenure homes.… Read more

Build-to-let: just the tonic?

Over the last few months the Government has begun to take quite seriously some of the realities of England’s housing crisis that we have been banging on about for years:

We simply don’t have enough homes – we desperately need to build more. More and more people are renting privately for the long term – not through some fleeting lifestyle choice, but because buying a home is just too expensive. Building homes is good for the economy and for creating… Read more
What homes where?

Getting homes built is a tricky business. The new National Planning Policy Framework encourages local based planning (rather than top down regional spatial strategies) and more local community engagement on plans and holding councils to account. A big concern is how to deal with local opposition to any new development plans. That’s a lot for local councils to take on at a time of severe cuts to their budgets, along with imminent decisions on who gets affordable housing and for … Read more

Social housing: foundation or springboard?

Today, Shelter is publishing information and evidence to assist local councils as they begin to compile their ‘Tenancy Strategies’ in the run up to the January 2013 deadline.

These strategies, required by the Localism Act 2011, need to set out how councils intend to respond to housing need, and specifically how they would like new social tenancies, such as those offered by housing associations, to operate in their area

Back in February, I spent an inspiring day with the … Read more

Where the home is...

Many a time on this blog, emphasis has been put on how easy it is to lose a home. An unexpected event can throw things up in the air; a serious illness can prevent you paying the bills, the end of a relationship can spiral in the wrong direction.

Put simply, there’s only a frail safety net there which can be easily torn apart by life’s twists and turns.

At Shelter we believe that people who have become homeless should … Read more